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The Sociolinguistics of Language Education in International Contexts


Edited By Edith Esch and Martin Solly

In many parts of the world the language education scenario is increasingly dynamic, as demographic, economic and social changes powerfully influence socio-political agendas in the sphere of language education. These in turn impact on complex issues such as linguistic pluralism, multiculturalism, and marginalization. This is especially so in the sphere of second language education where local, national and regional concerns often dominate the objectives underpinning policy choice and prioritisation.
This volume brings together scholars and researchers from a wide range of different educational contexts and turns a sociolinguistic lens on some of the key areas of concern for researchers in language education: critical awareness of power and identity issues; competence in dealing with new sociolinguistic repertoires, modalities and literacies; ethical concerns for all who are involved. The ‘case study’ approach enables the reader to reflect on and critically engage with these issues in a rich variety of contextual situations, and the volume as a whole provides a useful overview of (second) language education in the world today.


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MICHAEL EVANS The Sociolinguistics of Schooling: The Relevance of Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other or The Prosthesis of Origin 31


MICHAEL EVANS The Sociolinguistics of Schooling: The Relevance of Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other or The Prosthesis of Origin 1. Introduction If the sociolinguistics of language education is concerned with the complex relations between language and education (in the broadest sense of both these terms), then the sociolinguistics of schooling con- stitutes a sub-branch of this field; one in which the focus of attention is on the social, institutional and personal uses of language in school. In this chapter I want to narrow the scope even further by limiting the discussion to schooling within the context of language learning, and, furthermore, foreign language learning in school. Is there anything the sociolinguistics of schooling can learn from the writings of a postmodern philosopher whose work drew on poets such as Mallarmé and Valéry, and philosophers like Husserl and Levinas and whose most original contributions to theory have argua- bly included his notion of the deconstruction of the subject and of ‘difference’? Perhaps from the point of view of disciplinary relevance there is little that the Derridean perspective can offer educational re- searchers in terms of a theoretical framework for understanding the social context of learning and language in school. However, in the context of the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity of school populations in many western countries (for instance, recent studies report that 41 per cent of state school pupils in London speak another language in addition to English (Eversley et al. 2010), and 21 per cent 32 Michael Evans...

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